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photos by Lori Baily, words by Andrew Frisicano
PK-14 @ Glasslands
Arriving late [to powerHouse Arena on November 5th] I found the place packed, but I was just able to set up in time to get Xiao He's last tune. This piece was a lengthy improv involving electronic looping, acoustic guitar, and Mongolian style throat-singing - all to bewitching effect. Next up were the catchily named Carsick Cars, a young and winsome trio who played just three songs, opening with the liberating 'You Can Listen You Can Talk' and closing with - reportedly a Chinese underground anthem - Zhong Nan Hai - a silly song about a popular cigarette brand that just happens to be named after the seat of Chinese Government. The point being, as I understand it, that being punk is being beyond politics. Lastly came P.K.14, apparently elder statesmen of the movement. Sporting a tight Swedish drummer, and singing in pure mandarin, one could discern a wide mix of influences from pop to punk, to post-punk, to freak-out rock. I've picked two tunes from them - the more melodic 'Eden' and the wild closer 'Some Surprises Happen Too Soon'. [Punkcast]Punkcast was at the "China Underground Invasion" tour's kick off show on November 5th at powerHouse Arena. It was one of the four NYC shows for the tour that've already happened. Another was the next night (11/6) at Glasslands with These are Powers and Soft Circle. Pictures from the Glasslands show are above and below.
The trio of acts return to NYC on Friday, November 20th (TONIGHT) for a gig with The Octagon at UWS club Ding Dong Lounge with The Octagon. They follow that up with a tour-ending show at Secret Project Robot (NOT Monster Island Basement as originally listed in their dates) with Knyfe Hyts 81 and Aa on Saturday (Nov. 21). Knyfe Hyts 81 also have a show booked tonight in Manhattan with Sleigh Bells and Javelin.
Their label, Maybe Mars, lists one more stop for the gang. Guitarist Zhang Shouwang (from Carsick Cars) and Xiao He are slated to appear at the closing Performa 09 event, Scratch the Grand Finale at (Le) Poisson Rouge on November 22nd. But that isn't quite a conventional show - the fest writes that "invited artists will be asked to present a five to ten minute work responding to the following subtitles: Dining on Radio Waves; Lust is a Force; Between Noise & Silence; Songs for Architects; and Motion & Magic. The stage will be set with a arrangement of musical and Futurist inspired instrumentation and means from record decks, green light to perfume and the bassoon." Tickets are on sale.
Speaking of unconventional gigs, These Are Powers' next performance will be November 21st at Galapagos for a free edition (RSVP) of Cinema 16 (silent film+live band). For their set, the group will be scoring a pair of PSAs and one educational video from the '60s and '70s. Included in those will be "One Got Fat: Bicycle Safety" from 1963, summarized as such: "A group of children, wearing ape masks, the dangers of biking the hard way in this strange and dark PSA."
More pictures from the Glasslands show, videos via Punkcast from the powerHouse Arena gig, and more details on the upcoming shows are below...
These Are Powers
Xiao He - No Name
Carsick Cars - You Can Listen You Can Talk
Carsick Cars - Zhong Nan Hai
P.K.14 - Eden
P.K. 14 - Some Surprises Happen Too Soon
TWO MORE BEIJING UNDERGROUND INVASION SHOWS before the bands go home:
$5, 9pm sharp
Ding Dong Lounge - 105th and Columbus
KNIFE HYTS 81
SECRET PROJECT ROBOT
210 KENT @ METROPOLITAN